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Bee Plants

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Bee Plants

Honeybees and their many relatives make life sweet for us. Without bees many of our favorite foods and flowers would not be available. From apples to ornamentals to zuchinni, we rely on bees for pollination. According to the USDA, one-third of our diet is made possible by insect pollinators, and approximately 80 percent of that pollination is due to bees. By planting long blooming, drought-resistant Salvias and other flowering plants favored by honeybees and other species of the family Apidae, home gardeners can provide the nectar and pollen that these tiny pollinators need to survive.

Drought is causing shortages of many flowering plants on which bees survive. Food loss, both through drought and climate change, is one of many factors that bee researchers say is likely contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious malady that weakens honeybees and causes their destruction. The Natural Resources Defense Council notes that bee researchers began documenting this problem in America around 2006.

The Häagen-Daz Honey Bee Haven of the University of California, Davis, in July 2014 reported that "few plants show their value as bee plants for hot, dry gardens better than the salvias." UC Davis even includes red-flowering species among its bee favorites, although some bee researchers say that bees mostly can't see reds.

Many factors affect the predilections of honeybees, including markings on flowers -- sometimes called "beelines" -- that guide bees to the pollen and nectar they need. Unlike humans who can't see colors in the ultra-violet range, bees see UV colors including markings invisible to people but acting like lit-up runways for insects. Perhaps this characteristic enables them to access red flowers.

This list offers honeybee favorites in many colors grown at Flowers by the Sea.

Plants


  • Salvia sclarea 'Wild Form'

    (Clary or Clear Eye Sage or Eyebright) Pink-purple bracts and violet-purple flowers form a pastel cloud over the large, rumpled leaves of Clary Sage in summer. It is a towering beauty growing up to 5 feet tall. Sacred to some due to age-old use in herbal remedies, it is heavenly to look at.

    9.50
     


  • Salvia sclarea var turkestanica 'Piemont'

    (Italian Clary Sage) Clary Sages are well known for their use in folk remedies, aromatherapy and cosmetics. Glowing purple bracts frame the spectacular white blooms of this cultivar on 5-foot-tall spikes. It is a delight for honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

    9.00
     


  • Salvia semiatrata

    (Pine Mountain Sage) Small but numerous, violet and deep purple flowers surrounded by pink bracts are sprinkled throughout this well-branched,shrubby sage like confections. This is one of the showiest Salvias we grow.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia stepposa

    (Siberian Sage) Deep violet flowers surrounded by burgundy bracts form a handsome contrast with the pebbly, mint green foliage of this drought-resistant sage. It comes from the Central Asian steppe, which is similar in climate and geography to America’s high plains.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia taraxacifolia

    (Dandelion Leaf Sage) Brush or bruise the basal foliage of this Moroccan Salvia and it exudes a citrusy fragrance. Petite and heat tolerant, this is a sturdy, adaptable groundcover.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia transsylvanica

    (Romanian Sage) Here's a great selection for mixed Salvia borders in zones with colder winters. This herbaceous perennial features deep violet flowers in large whorls atop tall, branched spikes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia verticillata

    (Lilac Sage) We try not to brag too much, but this is our own variety of Salvia verticillata from home-grown seed, and we think it is spectacular. Butterflies and honeybees also are in love with this long-blooming perennial beauty.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia VIBE 'Ignition Purple'

    (Salvia VIBE®'Ignition Purple') Purple once was a color reserved for royalty. Salvia VIBE® 'Ignition Purple' has deep royal purple flowers that are rare in a Jame Sage hybrid.  They bloom spring to fall for your enjoyment.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Allen Chickering'

    (Allen Chickering Sage) Whorls of tiny violet flowers punctuate the stems of this sage's fragrant, gray-green foliage. It is a hybrid of Salvia clevelandii and Salvia leucophylla.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Bee's Bliss'

    (Bee's Bliss Sage) If you are looking for a California native sage to use as a groundcover, Bee's Bliss is a fine choice. Low-growing, widespreading and colorful, it is ideal for choking weeds.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Celestial Blue'

    (Celestial Blue Sage) Fast growing and adaptable, this sage is a chance hybrid between Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) -- also called California Blue Sage -- and California Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla). It may also be related to California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Christine Yeo'

    (Christine Yeo Sage) A chance hybrid of two Mexican sages --Salvia microphylla and S. chamaedryoides -- Christine Yeo Sage is long blooming and features deep purple flowers with white eyes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Bella Rosa'

    (Elk Bella Rosa Jame Sage) The large, creamy pink and burgundy flowers of this sage are stately in contrast with its deep green, veined, ovate foliage that is pleasantly fragrant. Elk Bella Rosa is as elegant as its name implies. It's also long blooming.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Blue Moon II'

    (Elk Blue Moon II Jame Sage) The phrase "blue moon" signifies a rare event. Elk Blue Moon Jame Sage is an unusual combination for a Salvia x jamensis hybrid -- dusky violet flowers with pale-blue throats, dark blue calyxes and mid-green foliage.

    Note:  This is a new (2014) cultivar that we chose to replace the original 'Elk Blue Moon'.  It is a superior grower, and otherwise very similar.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Bright Eyes'

    (Elk Bright Eyes Sage) Dark green and red calyxes support the raspberry-red flowers of Salvia x 'Elk Bright Eyes'. The pink throats of the blossoms are topped with white beelines, or eyes.  This is a unique and eyecatching color.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Buttercup'

    (Elk Buttercup Jame Sage) Red flower buds unfurl into the surprisingly buttery yellow blossoms of Elk Buttercup. Subtly bicolored, the flowers have touches of light pink including fine hairs on the upper lip.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Chantily Lace'

    (Elk Chantily Lace Jame Sage) What color are the flowers of this FBTS introduction?  Lavender? Periwinkle? Taffy?  Yes to all for this hard to describe but easy to love plant.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Elk Cotton Candy'

    (Elk Cotton Candy Jame Sage) Rosy hairs on the upper lip and pale white throats highlight the translucent, blush pink blossoms of Elk Cotton Candy Jame Sage. Dark, deeply contrasting calyxes support the medium-size flowers.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Crimson King'

    (Elk Crimson King Jame Sage) Sometimes words fail us when trying to describe a unique new color. Definitely red, but with a clear blue overlay and a blue eye. Featuring masses of flowers that delight pollinators, this FBTS introduction is new for 2017.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Elk Lemon Light'

    (Elk Lemon Light Jame Sage) We are proud to offer this luminescent, pure yellow Salvia x jamensis -- a color breakthrough from our own breeding program. The bright, light blossoms cool the landscape similar to white flowers, but with colorful impact.  The glossy green leaves are quite small - a very attractive and distinctive characteristic.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Lush Lavender'

    (Elk Lush Lavender Jame Sage) Pale white accents mark the throats of this sage's large, rich lavender flowers. In contrast, the calyxes cupping the blossoms are a dark blue-green. Overall, the look is serene.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Peach Flambe'

    (Elk Peach Flambe Sage) Pale pink-to-peach edges surround the petals of Salvia x 'Elk Peach Flambe' like hints of petticoats. The deep maroon calyxes holding the flowers add drama to this small sage.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Elk Pink Cloud'

    (Elk Pink Cloud Sage) Abounding with clusters of large, soft pink flowers on spreading branches, Salvia x 'Elk Pink Cloud' has a fluffy, cumulonimbus look when spilling over the edges of a hanging basket

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Elk Plum Parfait'

    (Elk Plum Parfait Jame Sage) It's a toss-up as to which are more dramatic -- the deep purple calyxes so dark they almost look black or the plum-colored flowers with pronounced white beelines. Elk Plum Parfait is a rare treat.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Twilight's Rosy Glow'

    (Elk Twilight's Rosy Glow Jame Sage) Rosy red hairs accentuate the upper lip of each dusky, salmon-pink blossom of this cheery Jame Sage. The flowers are tiny but abundant and are supported by bright green calyxes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk White Ice'

    (Elk White Ice Jame Sage) Never before have we seen such a pure white among the species to which Jame Sages are related. We love this purity as well as the bright green calyxes supporting the large flowers of Elk White Ice and giving it an overall crisp look.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Gayle Nielson'

    (Gayle Nielson Hybrid Sage) Whorl-like clusters of violet-blue flowers on slender stems as well as its height and width indicate that Gayle Nielson Hybrid Sage is related to some form of Salvia clevelandii.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Jean's Jewel'

    (Jean's Jewel Sage) An entirely new color in the Salvia guaranitica group, this chance hybrid with violet-pink blossoms was discovered by Kathleen Navarez at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. It is compact, freely flowering and spreads gently via rhizomes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'John Whittlesey'

    (John Whittlesey Sage) Hardy, vigorous and long blooming, John Whittlesey Sage is a hybrid of D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) -- a native of Mexico -- and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla), which is native to the American Southwest and Mexico.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Love and Wishes'

    (Love and Wishes Sage) Deep purple calyxes support the magenta-purple, tubular blossoms of Salvia x 'Love and Wishes'. They contrast handsomely with dark stems and mid-green foliage.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Maraschino'

    (Cherry Red Mountain Sage) This isn't just another red sage. Brilliant cherry-red flowers with dark purple bracts and cold weather tolerance to USDA Zone 6 make this a valuable landscaping plant.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Nuevo Leon'

    (Nuevo Leon Hybrid Sage) Imagine tiny, smooth, green leaves and deeper lavender-blue flowers than those of Salvia lycioides x greggii 'San Isidro'. With its midnight purple flowers, Nuevo Leon is a dramatic Salvia greggii hybrid.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Penny's Smile'

    (Penny's Smile Hybrid Sage) British Salvia aficionado Robin Middleton, of the indispensable Robin’s Salvias website, developed this lovely and hardy hybrid from a chance seedling he found near the Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’ in his garden. Heavily textured and hot pink, the 1-inch-long flowers are bright as lipstick.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Pozo Blue'

    (Grey Musk Sage) Lavender flowered, this is a fast-growing, chance hybrid of California Blue Sage (Salvia clevelandii) and California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).
    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Sally Greenwood'

    (Sally Greenwood Sage) Sally Greenwood's small gray-green leaves are a striking backdrop for the complicated, velvety royal purple of its abundant flowers overlaid with a blue sheen. It's an unusual sage both in color and its tight, mounding habit.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Scarlet Spires'

    (Scarlet Spires Sage) This is a brilliant cross between the sturdy D'Arcy's Sage (Salvia darcyi) and the beautifully colored 'Raspberry Delight' Littleleaf Sage (Salvia microphylla 'Raspberry Delight').

    10.50
     




Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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Reviews


Blooms pretty continuously from late spring through fall, planted in full sun wit 45 minutes of drip every 5 days in summer. Attracts various pollinators.
Mary Smith
Aug 12, 2017